- Black sea bass have dangerously sharp spines on their dorsal fin that can puncture human skin.
- The all-tackle world record for black sea bass is 9 pounds, 8 ounces.
- When hooked in deep water and brought quickly to the surface, a black sea bass will often regurgitate its stomach contents.
Gray triggerfish (Balistes)
Gray triggerfish have a flat, compressed body with a shape somewhere between round and rectangular. They have bone-like scales that make them almost impenetrable to predators. The mouth is narrow, with chisel-like teeth. Coloration ranges from pale green to pale gray, with a very light stripe running horizontally from mouth to tail fin. Some gray triggerfish have three broad markings that run vertically down the body. The have an average of 26 dorsal soft rays and 23 anal soft rays, and three dorsal spines from which they get their name; when in danger, the three dorsal spines will lock in a vertical position, lodging the fish in coral. The only way to release the spines is by pulling down on the third spine, like a trigger. As an adult, they can reach up to one foot in length and weigh up to 13 pounds.
Gray triggerfish live in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas, as well as in the Indian Ocean.
Adult triggerfish live near artificial and natural reefs at depths lower than 32 feet. Juveniles can be found closer to the surface living in sargassum (dense seaweed), coming back to the reefs at about age three. Triggerfish are mainly solitary fish, but may swim in very small groups.
Spawning season begins in late spring and ends in the summer. The female gray triggerfish will create a nest near the bottom of a reef and lay up to 90,000 eggs. The eggs are fertilized externally and generally hatch within two days. Either the male or the female triggerfish will guard the eggs and larvae against predators such as wrasses and red snapper.
Gray triggerfish are omnivorous. The juveniles eat plankton and other particles in the sargassum. Adults eat a variety of crabs, sand dollars, mollusks and other crustaceans. Triggerfish use their strong jaws to crush the shells of crustaceans.
Despite the small size of this fish, they are a great fishing challenge because they will fight until the very end. Anglers generally prefer using a #1 to #6 hook with light tackle. Use a weight that is just heavy enough to get the bait to the bottom. Because of the triggerfishs hard mouth, a quick, hard jerk is needed to penetrate the bony mouth structure. The flesh of the triggerfish is white with a mild flavor.
- Triggerfish are a great aquarium fish.
- In an aquarium, triggerfish can be trained to eat from your hand.